Spread betting offers you the chance to make profits that knock interest earned on other financial products like bonds and ISAs into touch.
However, alongside this potential for growth you could also lose your entire stake and possibly more.
You're essentially gambling your money on volatile markets that can fall just as drastically as they can rise - and your win/loss is tied to the magnitude of that change.
It's important that you take into consideration the fact that you aren't actually buying or selling any stocks, you're only betting on the performance of stocks and shares and the movement of markets.
If you bet and you win, you profit - if you get it wrong and the market moves against you, you risk losing money and getting out less than you put in to start with. This risk factor is something you must be aware of before you start spread betting.
Thankfully, if you don't fancy risking your life's savings on a punt, many companies do offer small stakes trading options that let you bet with pennies, rather than pounds.

Why you should start off with small stakes spread betting

Spread betting platforms that allow small stakes trading clearly don't let you earn the big profits that you can on larger bets - but you also don't risk losing a huge amount either.
If you're new to spread betting and want to learn more about how the market works before upping the stakes, starting with smaller bets offers the best of both worlds.
First off, spread betting small stakes accounts let you try theoretical trades to see if they work and without risking a lot of money to do so.
Added to that you can spread your risk by betting on a range of shares (a little on each, with the aim that successful bets will cover your lost stakes) rather than limiting your options to a single, larger bet.
Lastly, small stakes betting can be useful for hedging against stocks you actually own; if the value drops then your spread betting 'win' will cover some of that loss; if the stock's value rises against your bet you won't lose too much of your capital gains profit.

Compare small stakes spread betting

Small stakes spread bet companies will have different limits on how little they'll let you trade to begin with - so before you open an account with any company you should check what their minimum amount is, as this is the level you'll have to match or exceed from the get-go.
By carrying out a small stakes betting comparison, you'll be able to find out which organisations let you make fractional bets of less than a pound-per-point and those that require you to put in a few quid at least. Whichever fits your budget will be, literally, your best bet.

Consider a demo spread bet account

If you really want to learn the ropes, many companies also offer demo accounts, which essentially work as spread bet simulations. You'll get used to placing bets and speculating on how markets will perform without risking a penny of your own cash.
Thereafter you can think about moving onto small stakes betting for beginners.